Capital punishment in the United States

death penaltycapital punishmentsentenced to deathdeathUnited Statesexecuteddeath sentencedeath penalty in the United Statesexecutionthe death penalty
[[File:Death penalty in the United States.svg|thumb|250px|A map displaying the legal status of the death penalty in the United States by individual states.wikipedia
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Capital punishment by country

Use of capital punishment by countryUse of capital punishment by nationmost countries in the world had abolished the death penalty
It is one of 54 countries worldwide applying it, and was the first to develop lethal injection as a method of execution, which has since been adopted by five other countries.
Of the 58 sovereign states categorized as 'very high' on the 2018 issue of the Human Development Index (referring to 2017), 11 perform capital punishment: Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Belarus, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

Lethal injection

Executed by lethal injectionlethal injectionsdeath by lethal injection
It is one of 54 countries worldwide applying it, and was the first to develop lethal injection as a method of execution, which has since been adopted by five other countries.
First developed in the United States, it is now also a legal method of execution in China, Thailand, Guatemala, Taiwan, the Maldives, Nigeria and Vietnam, though Guatemala has not conducted an execution since 2000 and the Maldives has never carried out an execution since its independence.

Furman v. Georgia

Furmanpre-Furmanpre-''Furman
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down capital punishment statutes in Furman v. Georgia, reducing all death sentences pending at the time to life imprisonment.
Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), was a criminal case in which the United States Supreme Court struck down all death penalty schemes in the United States in a 5–4 decision, with each member of the majority writing a separate opinion.

Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Eighth AmendmentEighth8th Amendment
The Bill of Rights adopted in 1789 included the Eighth Amendment which prohibited cruel and unusual punishment.
Under the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, the Supreme Court has struck down the application of capital punishment in some instances, but capital punishment is still permitted in some cases where the defendant is convicted of murder.

M. Watt Espy

The Espy file, compiled by M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smykla, lists 15,269 people executed in the United States and its predecessor colonies between 1608 and 1991.
Major Watt Espy, Jr. (March 2, 1933 – August 13, 2009) was a researcher and expert on capital punishment in the United States.

Gregg v. Georgia

Woodson v. North CarolinaRoberts v. LouisianaGregg
Subsequently, a majority of states passed new death penalty statutes, and the court affirmed the legality of capital punishment in the 1976 case Gregg v. Georgia.
Gregg v. Georgia, Proffitt v. Florida, Jurek v. Texas, Woodson v. North Carolina, and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), reaffirmed the United States Supreme Court's acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon Gregg.

Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Fifth AmendmentFifthU.S. Const. amend. V
The Fifth Amendment was drafted with language implying a possible use of the death penalty, requiring a grand jury indictment for "capital crime" and a due process of law for deprivation of "life" by the government.
Whether a crime is "infamous", for purposes of the Grand Jury Clause, is determined by the nature of the punishment that may be imposed, not the punishment that is actually imposed; however, crimes punishable by death must be tried upon indictments.

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Supreme CourtU.S. Supreme CourtSupreme Court
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down capital punishment statutes in Furman v. Georgia, reducing all death sentences pending at the time to life imprisonment.
It also dithered on the death penalty, ruling first that most applications were defective (Furman v. Georgia), then the death penalty itself was not unconstitutional (Gregg v. Georgia).

United States

AmericanU.S.USA
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the United States, currently used by 29 states, the federal government, and the military.
Meanwhile, several states have either abolished or struck down death-penalty laws.

Baze v. Rees

Baze and Bowling v. Rees
Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 (Baze v. Rees), again in 2015 (Glossip v. Gross), and a third time in 2019 (Bucklew v. Precythe), that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
Baze v. Rees, 553 U.S. 35 (2008), is a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutionality of a particular method of lethal injection used for capital punishment.

Barack Obama

ObamaPresident ObamaPresident Barack Obama
Nevertheless, the ruling came less than five months before the 2008 presidential election and was criticized by both major party candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.
During his 2004 general election campaign for the U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms.

Velma Barfield

Margie Velma BarfieldVelma Margie Barfield
Other notable female executions include Mary Surratt, Margie Velma Barfield and Wanda Jean Allen.
Barfield was the first woman in the United States to be executed after the 1976 resumption of capital punishment and the first since 1962.

Child murder

child killerchild homicidechild murderer
Several states have included child murder to their list of aggravating factors, but the victim's age under which the murder is punishable by death varies.
Several U.S. states have included child murder to their list of aggravating factors that may make a murder punishable by the death penalty, but the victim’s age under which the crime is a capital crime varies between them.

Mitigating factor

extenuating circumstancesmitigating circumstancesmitigating
At the second hearing, the jury determines whether certain statutory aggravating factors exist, whether any mitigating factors exist, and, in many jurisdictions, weigh the aggravating and mitigating factors in assessing the ultimate penalty – either death or life in prison, either with or without parole.
In the United States, the issue of mitigating factors is most important in death penalty cases.

Byron White

Justice WhiteWhiteByron R. White
The narrowest opinions, those of Byron White and Potter Stewart, expressed generalized concerns about the inconsistent application of the death penalty across a variety of cases, but did not exclude the possibility of a constitutional death penalty law.
The Furman decision ended capital punishment in the U.S. until the court's ruling in Gregg v. Georgia (1976).

Potter Stewart

StewartJustice StewartJustice Potter Stewart
The narrowest opinions, those of Byron White and Potter Stewart, expressed generalized concerns about the inconsistent application of the death penalty across a variety of cases, but did not exclude the possibility of a constitutional death penalty law.
On the Burger Court, Stewart was seen as a centrist justice and was often influential, joining the decision in Furman v. Georgia (1972) that invalidated all death penalty laws then in force, and then joining in the Court's decision four years later, Gregg v. Georgia, which upheld the revised capital punishment legislation adopted in a majority of the states.

George H. W. Bush

George H.W. BushBushGeorge Bush
It came up in the October 13, 1988, debate between the two presidential nominees George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis, when Bernard Shaw, the moderator of the debate, asked Dukakis, "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"
Known as the "thousand points of light" speech, it described Bush's vision of America: he endorsed the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer in schools, capital punishment, and gun rights.

Connecticut

CTState of ConnecticutConn.
In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to repeal the death penalty by legislative vote since Gregg v. Georgia, followed by New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012, and Maryland in 2013.
In April 2012 both houses of the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill (20 to 16 and 86 to 62) that abolished the capital punishment for all future crimes, while 11 inmates who were waiting on the death row at the time could still be executed.

Capital punishment in Wisconsin

Wisconsincapital punishment
Three states abolished the death penalty for murder during the 19th century: Michigan (which has never executed a prisoner since achieving statehood) in 1846, Wisconsin in 1853 and Maine in 1887.
* Capital punishment in the United States

Electric chair

electrocutionelectrocuteddeath by electrocution
Although the electric chair has long been a symbol of the death penalty in the United States, its use is in decline due to the rise of lethal injection, which is widely believed to be a more humane method of execution.

Capital punishment in Maine

Mainedeath penalty
Three states abolished the death penalty for murder during the 19th century: Michigan (which has never executed a prisoner since achieving statehood) in 1846, Wisconsin in 1853 and Maine in 1887.
*Capital punishment in the United States

Rainey Bethea

The last public execution in the U.S. was that of Rainey Bethea in Owensboro, Kentucky, on August 14, 1936.
1909 – August 14, 1936) was the last person [[Capital punishment in the United States#Location of executions: public versus private|publicly executed]] in the United States.

Capital punishment in Rhode Island

Rhode IslandexecutedRhode Island abolished the death penalty
Rhode Island is also a state with a long abolitionist background, having repealed the death penalty in 1852, though it was theoretically available for murder committed by a prisoner between 1872 and 1984.
* Capital punishment in the United States

Ronnie Lee Gardner

The execution of Gardner at Utah State Prison became the focus of media attention in June 2010, because it was the first to be carried out by firing squad in the United States in 14 years.

Gas chamber

gas chambersgassedlethal gas
Gas chambers have been used for capital punishment in the United States to execute death row inmates.